You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Switching telecom provider? New supplier to handle entire move under Ofcom proposals

0
Written by: Paloma Kubiak
29/07/2016
Customers switching landline, broadband and pay TV services should be able to do so with greater ease under proposals announced by the communications regulator.

Ofcom has today announced proposals to help consumers switch telecom providers via the Openreach telecoms network, KCOM in Hull, Virgin Media cable and Sky satellite, whether they have stand-alone or bundle packages.

Currently, if you want to switch one or more of your triple play services (landline, broadband and pay TV) to another provider, you have to contact your existing supply to cancel the contract. You then need to arrange the service with your new, gaining supplier.

However, Ofcom said this ‘cease and re-provide’ arrangement comes with difficulties, such as customers losing service, paying double for an overlapping service – an average of £22 – and difficulties contacting their current provider to cancel the subscription.

With an estimated 884,000 switches made between the networks every year and with no current formal switching process to help people, Ofcom has outlined two options to make switching easier and more reliable.

  • ‘One-stop’ process for switching: This is Ofcom’s preferred option which would place responsibility for the coordination of the switch entirely in the hands of a customer’s new provider. The customer would only need to deal with the company they were switching to.
  • Improved cancellation channels: This would see an enhanced version of the existing arrangements for switching between networks. Customers would still have to contact their existing provider to cancel their service or services, but could do so without having to speak to them on the phone. Ofcom would require providers to offer a wider range of cancellation channels, for example, via webchat or an online account.

It added that both options would reduce loss of service and double paying. This is because the consumer’s new provider would be required to coordinate with the losing provider to ensure their old service is not switched off until the new service is active.

Further, any notice period owed to the old provider would come to an end on the date of the switch to avoid contracts overlapping and to prevent the consumer from paying for two services at once.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “People should be able to switch easily to take advantage of the best deals in the market.

“We’ve already improved the switching experience for millions of landline and broadband customers. Now we’re consulting on making it easier and more reliable for telecoms and TV customers to switch between different networks – including when their services are bundled on to one bill.”

The consultation on these proposals will run until 21 October and Ofcom is due to take a final decision by summer 2017.

Separately, Ofcom today also launched a consultation on the proposed introduction of new rules to reduce the number of mobile customers who are charged after the date they switch their service to a new provider – saving them at least £13m per year.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Seven ways to get help with energy bills this winter

We knew today’s announcement was going to be painful, but it’s still a shock to the system. When this kick...

Flight cancelled or delayed? Your rights explained

With no sign of the problems in UK aviation easing over the peak summer period, many will worry whether holida...

Rail strikes: Your travel and refund rights

Thousands of railway workers will strike across three days this week, grinding much of the transport system to...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week